(34-33-3 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I’m coming off my worst week of the season in Week 14, where I went 1-4. If anything, I’m due. Here are my picks for Week 15:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+8.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
-On paper, the 3-10 Patriots stand no chance against the 8-5 Chiefs. But there’s definitely a different confidence level that these Patriots are showing with Bailey Zappe under center. Zappe led the Pats to a big win in Pittsburgh last week on Thursday Night Football. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have lost two straight, and haven’t seemed like themselves as of late. More than anything though, Bill Belichick should be the biggest difference maker in a cover for the Pats at home, as he’s continued to coach up the defense in a way that not many around the league could, during a season in which the team’s already been eliminated from playoff contention. In their last four games, the Patriots are allowing an average of just 11 points per game. With no Isiah Pacheco for Kansas City, I’m jumping all over the points here. The Chiefs might win this game, but my money is on New England keeping it close enough to cover.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-I’d usually stay away from a game between two 6-7 teams this late in the season, but I feel very confident about a bounce-back performance by the Packers at Lambeau this week. Green Bay had a three-game win streak snapped last Sunday by the Giants at MetLife. I don’t know what happened there. But before that, Jordan Love was playing great, leading the Packers to wins over Kansas City and Detroit in back-to-back weeks. Now, they host the Buccaneers, who, while in first place in the lowly NFC South, are not a very good team. Tampa Bay has the third-worst pass defense in the NFL, so I expect Love to have a nice afternoon with a lot to play for, as the Packers are trying to hold onto that final NFC Wild Card spot. Give me Green Bay by 10.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-6.5) over Washington Commanders
-The 6-7 Rams are in must-win mode as they try to grab a Wild Card playoff spot in the NFC. They host a 4-9 Commanders team that’s coming off the bye. Washington lost four straight before the bye, so this shouldn’t be a very difficult game for the Rams, who are coming off a hard-fought overtime loss to the Ravens, one of the best teams in the league. Washington has the worst defense in the NFL, allowing 30 points per game. The Commanders have also allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league this season. That bodes well for Matthew Stafford, who’s thrown 10 touchdown passes and just one interception in his last three games. Not much more needs to be said here. I’m taking the Rams to win big at home.
BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5) over Dallas Cowboys
-Last week, Buffalo was my only win, as the Bills went into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs. When I made that pick, I told you the Bills were +3500 to win the Super Bowl. I told you that’s a great-value futures bet, because after they beat the Chiefs and turn things around, those odds would drop significantly. Well, a week later, after a big win over the Chiefs, the Bills are now +1900 to win the Super Bowl. That’s the same odds as the Detroit Lions. Obviously you have to get into the playoffs first. And right now, the 7-6 Bills are out. So they need to beat the 10-3 Cowboys at home this week. Dallas has won five straight, and is coming off an impressive win over the Eagles. But I’m sticking with the Bills here. I do think they’re about to go on a serious run that will turn some heads. Buffalo wins at home by a field goal.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-3.5) over Jacksonville Jaguars
-The 10-3 Ravens won last week, but they didn’t cover for me. I’m not running from them this week in Jacksonville, against an 8-5 Jaguars team that’s lost two straight. Trevor Lawrence is playing through an ankle injury, and so this isn’t a good matchup for him against the second-best defense in the league. Baltimore allows just 17 points per game. Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ pass defense is the second-worst in the NFL, allowing 265 pass yards per game. Right now, the Ravens are the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture. Lamar Jackson has led Baltimore to three straight wins, with no signs of slowing down. Give me the Ravens to win big in Jacksonville on Sunday Night Football and stay on top of the AFC.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.